Snow covered cemetery — Dover, Mass., January 2018
Currently showing posts tagged Snow
Welcome to, uh, spring — New York City, March 2018
After the snow — Lorton, Va., January 2015
Snow sticks — Lorton, Va., January 2017
Snowy morning — New York City, February 2016
Snow on the fire escape — New York City, February 2016
Meet our 5-month-old godson, Parker, the child of Jill's cousin Brian and his wife, Elise Hodges. Brian, Elise and Parker have been staying with us for the past three days during the snowstorm/blizzard. While this is not his first exposure to snow, it still made sense to put him in a drift briefly and see what we could capture. (And what we captured is pretty cute, IMO.)
Snowboarding, sledding, and generally having fun with the trio in Central Park, two days after a 24-inch snowfall.
Recently, I shared a photo from PrideFest Milwaukee that had an unexpected response. The photo said simply: “I don’t think the worst thing that could happen to me is raising a child who is gay. I think the worst thing is to raise a child who is cruel to those who are gay.”
The post got an amazing 745 likes on my Facebook page, as well as a few of the anticipated responses that come when you share something that has long been part of the culture wars. I stand firm in my beliefs, but the reaction also is one reason I don’t post much overtly political stuff on Facebook. My friends/acquaintances cut across the political spectrum, and there’s no reason to incite one side or the other. Enough of that is going on as is.
However, one response is worth examining in more depth. It came from a person who wrote, “The worst thing is to raise a child who is intentionally cruel to anyone … not just gay people.”
No one disagrees with that, but the statement somewhat misses the point of the post, which calls attention to a group that has been abused and disenfranchised for some time.
Long ago, I realized that children are not inherently racists/misogynists; more often than not, they’re puppeting what they hear from parents and family members. The danger comes when intolerant thoughts become ingrained beliefs and values.
This is a simple fact: You can talk to, influence, help, offer, beg, plead, hope and pray, but you cannot "prevent" someone from making a bad decision.
No matter how far we’ve come as a country, all you have to do is read the headlines and it becomes clear that intolerance and anger toward people who are different from us still has a strong grip on many in our nation. For every two steps forward, we take at least one step back, sometimes more.
And we only have ourselves to blame.
Quote of the month from Rosanne Cash: "You want to know where you come from and who you are connected to. From the most simple — tracing back your name — to the most complex of what sticks to your DNA over eternity. The musical lineage I have. The emotional and spiritual lineage I have. What my kids will get from that. All of those questions become really important. They certainly did for me."
Here are some other random (and for the most part more tongue-in-cheek) thoughts from the past month:
• Snow days make you realize there's a fine line between togetherness and trapped.
• The morning after daylight savings time takes effect: There's no way it's already 11 a.m. Oh, yeah...
• If you want to know why parents do what they do sometimes, blame Daylight Savings Time and the groundhog. That covers at least 90% of it this year...
• Some days you wake up and feel bitter. At other times you are grateful. The latter definitely applies this morning, despite a night's sleep that feels like the cat's siesta on the ottoman.
• After the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament: So UNC is smarter than Harvard. At basketball. Barely...
• So, if you're deciding to run for president, you think you'd be smart enough to purchase your domain name in advance. Don’t believe me? Take a look at www.tedcruz.com. (Not surprisingly, the page no longer exists at the apparent “request” of the Cruz campaign.)
Dear Mother Nature: With regard to your seemingly ongoing disrespect for those of us who live on the East Coast, all I can say is live through this lingering allergy/cold/curl up in a fetal ball feeling. Then you'll understand why my acronym of choice for you right now is GFY.
On behalf of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states, thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.
What do my kids do for a snow day? They dance. In the snow. And have their father take pictures...
For more of these photos, go to my Facebook album here.
So in the interest of trying to get into something resembling physical shape as my (ahem) AARP eligibility nears, my friend Eric and I walked 8.7 miles today
In the rain and near freezing drizzle.
He carried a backpack with 40 pounds of Tom Clancy novels (both of them). I wore a baseball cap and a jacket and carried myself.
That, quite frankly, was quite enough. #newyearsresolutions
There’s a great Peanuts cartoon in which a single flake of snow falls from the sky and one of the characters exclaims, “Close all the schools!”
Fairfax and other counties in Northern Virginia should have taken a look at that cartoon this morning. Instead, a wintery mix of bad timing, rush hour commute, poor planning and communication turned into an epic storm of a different, rancid kind.
What was expected to be 1-3 inches of wet, powdery snow was just that, but it didn’t start falling until around 4:30 a.m., 2 ½ hours before sunrise and with temperatures in the low 20s. While many schools in the area decided on two-hour delays — a choice usually made by 5 a.m. before the first buses roll — Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun County opted to start at the regularly scheduled time.
It was a big mistake, and one that likely will be a migraine for FCPS for some time to come.
For some reason, I woke up at 3:30 this morning and could not go back to sleep. I knew the weather was expected to be iffy at best, and figured the kids would go to school on a two-hour delay, if at all.
As the snow started to fall, I turned on the TV to look for the announcement and didn’t see one. Surprised, I woke Jill shortly after 5 a.m. and told her that it was a decision that Fairfax would regret.
Our daughters, Kate and Emma, go to high schools on opposite ends of our house, which is on the county’s southern border. Kate is a senior at Mount Vernon, while Emma is a junior at Lake Braddock.
Both girls, who are responsible drivers with a number of activities and/or work after school, said they wanted to drive alone to school. Kate’s commute involves Route 1, which is a state highway that usually is salted. Emma’s, on the other hand, involves a number of back roads that can be a challenge in tough weather.
Somewhat worried, I decided to follow Emma, who was picking up a friend, and meet her at Starbucks for some morning coffee. Even I was not prepared for the streets near our home to be a hockey rink.
We went just over a mile in an hour and saw two wrecks and multiple cars spinning out. On a hill, Emma and I were separated when a car in front of me stopped midway, and soon thereafter, I found myself playing chicken with a truck and a school bus that was fighting to gain limited traction. Fortunately, I was able to back up safely, get Emma parked, and take her home.
By this time, parents and students were already venting on social media. And it wasn’t even 7:30 a.m.
Within two hours, the hashtag #closeFCPS was trending worldwide on Twitter, reminding me once again that the hardest decisions school leaders make come down to three things: personnel, student expulsions, and weather-related closings. All three, in one key aspect or another, are no-win situations.
I learned this lesson while serving as a communications director for North Carolina's Rockingham County Schools. Geographically speaking, Rockingham County does not compare in size to Fairfax County, home to one of the nation's largest school districts. But it shared some similarities, with the potential for storms in the western end not affecting the southern or eastern portions of the county at all. So while roads were too dangerous to bypass in some areas, others would have nothing on them.
Closing schools is an all-around inconvenience. Instructional days are lost and have to be shifted around. Parents have to scramble to find child care arrangements, or be faced with the prospect of missing work or leaving their kids at home for the day. It is not a decision that is made lightly.
2013-14 was not a good weather year, as students and staff missed numerous days due to a seemingly never-ending winter. Fortunately, the weather gods have been kind in 2014-15, with only one day missed so far this school year.
In large county districts, it’s worth noting that closing schools usually is an all-or-nothing proposition. And in developing school calendars (a subject worthy of its own debate, but not now), districts build in a certain number of inclement weather days for instances such as this. When a district operates on a two-hour delay, they get credit for the instructional day, even though classes are compressed and cut short.
I’m not conservative on most things, but I am where the safety of my children is concerned. As inconvenient as closing or delaying the start of school may have been, it’s just not worth it to put your staff or students at risk. Putting teenage drivers on the road before sunrise during the early morning rush hour is scary enough.
Several Maryland school districts made what I consider to be the right call from the beginning. They started with a two-hour delay, then some closed for the day when weather conditions did not improve. A similar approach, while not ideal, would have been welcome here.
We were fortunate. Kate made it to school safely. I managed to get Emma home and then walked the mile to pick up her car. By this time, streets were finally salted and I made it home safely about 9:15.
About an hour later, Fairfax County Public Schools issued an apology, noting the decision was made with “the best information we had very early this morning.” School board member Ryan McElveen, in a Twitter post favorited more than 5,000 times in less than three hours, said the decision not to close “was terrible.”
“Clearly,” he wrote, “we screwed up. I am so sorry for all the hardship brought upon so many.”
Let’s hope everyone has learned a valuable lesson, and next time something like this comes up, perhaps everyone truly will err on the side of caution and safety.
Winter dusting — Watersburg, Pa., November 2014
NO MORE SNOW! — Lorton, Va., August 2013
A screwed up winter took another turn Tuesday, when the prediction of a few flurries turned into almost 3 inches of snow near our Northern Virginia home. Fortunately, temperatures were high enough that the roads remained clear, allowing me to take the long, leisurely route — and these pictures — while driving to pick up my kids from school.
For more photos, check out my Facebook album here.
Over the Presidents' Day weekend, Jill and I spent some time in New York while Ben and Emma took classes there for the Impulse dance troupe. After an early morning snow, we took a walk through Central Park and my photographer-indulgent spouse let me take a few shots. To see more, go to my Facebook album here.
Northern Virginia did not get the brunt of the huge storm that hit the Northeast on Jan. 2-3, but the smattering of snow and ice was complicated by 30 to 45 mph gusts, an extremely bright sun reflection, and wind chills in single digits. Made for some non-traditional winter photos, too... For more photos, take a look at the album on my Facebook photo page.
There is something beautiful about “The Melt,” that brief period following a winter storm before everything becomes muddy, mushy and just gross. On Sunday, Northern Virginia was hit by the remnants of the huge storm that pummeled the middle of the country last week, dropping a little snow and covering the trees and bushes with a thin layer of ice. By mid morning, however, temperatures were above freezing, giving me a chance to catch “The Melt” before the storm hits later tonight.
For more photos, go to the album on my Facebook photo page.
Snow tracks — Alexandria, Va., December 2013